Leaves of Absence, Vacation, Winter Break

Leaves of Absence | Vacation | Entering Time | Winter Break

Brown has reviewed its workplace policies to support the safety of its employees as well as to address their needs to care for others affected by the coronavirus. This page outlines these policies, all of which are in effect beginning March 16.

Only essential personnel should report to work. These work arrangements will remain in effect through December 23. University policies are subject to change and may be modified as more information on the coronavirus becomes available.

For essential personnel who are required to report to campus from April 4 through December 23, 2020, their department — in consultation with University Human Resources — will determine applicable policies for leave of absences (i.e., medical, personal) and/or time off (i.e., vacation, sick) based on operational needs of the individual department. 

Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA)

Employees who can telecommute are expected to do so. These arrangements should be finalized with their supervisor. To confirm Alternative Work Arrangements (AWA) approval, an employee can rely on their supervisor’s communication that they can telecommute. Policy guidelines have been relaxed to allow work on a remote basis while employees also provide childcare and eldercare. To review additional details about this policy, please read the University’s Alternative Work Arrangements policy.

Leaves of Absence

Special Leave of Absence

Brown University will provide paid Special Leave for up to 14 days (or 10 business days) for the following situations related to COVID-19:

  • An employee who is not sick and needs to provide care for a dependent or a household member in need of quarantine that is mandated by a public health agency due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 case.
  • An employee who is not sick and in need of quarantine that is mandated by a public health agency or by Brown’s contact tracing team,  due to exposure to a positive COVID-19 case. 
  • An employee who, has been diagnosed, or is required to care for a sick dependent or member of their household who needs medical treatment.1

Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)/RI Parental Family Medical Leave (RIPFML)

Special Leave may be applied as part of FMLA/RIPFML. Employees who are sick and in need of treatment may be eligible for leave under FMLA/RIPFML for up to 13 weeks. Employees may request this leave of absence when they meet the eligibility requirements for a leave under FMLA/RIPFML (12 months worked and 1250 hours worked in 1 year). Employees may also request this leave of absence if they are required to care for a spouse, child, or parent who is sick and in need of treatment. FMLA/RIPFML is unpaid leave time but employees may use accrued sick and/or vacation time to remain paid.

Personal Leave of Absence

Special Leave may be applied as part of a Personal Leave of Absence. The University has expanded its criteria and purpose of Personal Leave to provide support for employees in need of time out of work as a result of COVID-19. The expansions to a Personal Leave are outlined below:

  • Benefits will continue at the active employee rate for the duration of the approved personal leave.
  • Employees may use accrued sick/vacation time off to remain paid.

Sick Time

The University has expanded its criteria and purpose of Sick Time to support employees as a result of COVID-19. The expansions to Sick Time are outlined below:

  • After Paid Special Leave time has been used, sick time may be used to care for a sick dependent or a sick member of their household.1
  • After Paid Special Leave time has been used, sick time may be used to care for a dependent in quarantine or a household member in quarantine.1

Chart: Pay and Leave Guidelines for COVID-19

The following chart is intended to provide additional guidance on pay and leave for employees who are sick, in quarantine, or must care for dependents or other household members who are sick or in quarantine.

The chart also addresses situations where an employee must remain both away from work and where no option exists for an alternative work arrangement (AWA) – either because an alternative work arrangement is not possible or the employee is sick.2 Where a particular situation is supported by more than one pay and leave option, multiple options are indicated where applicable.



Leave Guidelines for COVID-19

Time Off Guidelines for COVID-19 


Special Leave (paid 10 business days)

Medical Leaves of Absence

Personal Leave of Absence**

time off

Sick time off

Self Isolation

Quarantine mandated by a public health agency or by Brown


Quarantine for an underlying medical condition that increases risk to self or others



Employee is not sick and does not want to report to work to avoid exposure from others



Employee’s Own Illness

Employee’s Own Illness (COVID-19)***


Dependent Care

Child’s school closed due to COVID-19



To care for a dependent or household member who is ill or in quarantine due to COVID-19

Questions about particular situations should be addressed to University Human Resources to [email protected].

Note: The chart above applies to staff who are eligible for overtime and for staff who are not required to submit time entry for pay for hours worked. Employees covered under a collective bargaining agreement should also refer to their respective collective bargaining agreements for additional information on paid time-off benefits or eligibility for leave provisions.

Employee must meet eligibility criteria under FMLA/RIPFML. A leave of absence is unpaid leave but employees may use sick/vacation time off concurrently.

This matrix in this document does not address employees who are already on an approved alternative work or telecommuting arrangement and these employees shall continue to be paid. Employees who are not on an AWA and are capable of working from home should do so effective March 16 to December 23. Employees on a telecommuting work assignment should discuss with their supervisor an alternative work arrangement in accordance with University policies.

*** Employees who have exhausted or are not eligible for FMLA/RIPFML may be eligible for leave as an accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Vacation Leave

Brown University values our staff and recognizes the need for self-care, especially during these difficult times. As we continue to manage reduced in-person operations on campus, please know that you can continue to request vacation time as needed to take quality time for yourselves. Taking vacation is important for all employees for their own personal and professional well-being. Especially during this period of telecommuting, the University continues to urge all employees to use the benefit of their vacation leave to have personal time away from professional duties. The University’s Vacation Time Policy remains unchanged, with the strong encouragement that employees request and take their accrued vacation.

Winter Break 2020

Winter break will begin Wednesday, December 23, 2020, through January 3, 2021.

Entering Time

All non-exempt (including seasonal/intermittent) staff must enter and submit their regular scheduled hours into Workday in order to be paid.

Managers or Timekeepers must approve time submitted for non-exempt employees prior to the payroll deadline in order for non-exempt staff to be paid. Bi-Weekly and Weekly payroll deadlines can be found on the Payroll website.

Non-exempt staff who are unable to enter time should contact their manager or Timekeeper to enter time on their behalf by the required payroll deadline dates.

Time may be entered and approved using a smartphone or tablet. Click here for instructions on how to install the Workday app on smartphones or tablets.